This town is the entry point to the region of the Valles Cruceños, which are found between the Elbow of the Andes and the Siberia mountain range, guarding four centuries of winemaking history. These lands have been the scene of the passing of the Chanés, Incas, Guaraní and Spanish. The arrival of the Spaniard Ñuflo de Chaves in 1548 marked the beginning of a long struggle between the Guaraní, the indigenous tribe who dominated the region, and the Spanish.
After the founding of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in 1561, the first vineyards of the region were established in the outskirts of Santa Cruz de la Sierra “La Vieja”, in the slopes of the Sutó mountain range. Half way through consolidating the Spanish colony, these vines were planted in the extreme eastern valleys of the Andes. In the decade of 1580 Cruceño soldiers led by Lorenzo Suarez of Figueroa conquered the territory that is now Samaipata.
There, in approximately 1595, appeared the first vineyards of the region, like that of Oconí, belonging to the governor of Santa Cruz, the Spanish Gonzalo Solís of Holguín, and his wife, the cruceña Mencía Saavedra and Sanabria. In the year 1618, the Spaniard Pedro Escalante and Mendoza founded the “Town of the Valley Of Purification”, Samaipata, which in Quechua is called “Break of the Heights”. Quickly important vineyards emerged such as those of Orden of the Mercedarios in Tembladeras and those of the pioneering Cruceño families in Chilón.
The wines from the first vineyards of the region were destined for the rich mining cities of Alto Perú and the parishes of Bishopric of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. However, during the Republic the production of wine was reduced to small family vineyards. Some of the most important came to produce up to 20,000 litres per year. Saving this tradition, Uvairenda is the rebirth of the winemaking of the Valles Cruceños. As a tribute to the origins of its people, the name of the vineyard is derived from the Spanish word “uva” (for grape) and the Guaraní word “renda”, which means ‘place of’; therefore, Uvairenda is the place of grapes. That is how Samaipata strengthens our country’s production of wines of altitude, which are a pride of the Bolivian people.
Samaipata’s Ideal Climate
The vineyards of Uvairenda, at an altitude greater than 1750 meters, enjoy a temperate, semi-dry climate with an average yearly temperature of 62.4º F and annual rainfall around 30 inches. Its climate is classified as moderate cooler climate under the Winkler scale and Marine West Coast Climate under the Köppen classification.
At 18º 11’ latitude south and 63º 53‘ longitude west, our vines are at the northeast frontier of the long strip of vineyards that hang from the eastern slope of the Andes from Patagonia until the elbow of the Andes. Despite being at a tropical latitude, Samaipata has more clearly defined seasons than other places at the same latitude thanks to the surazos (cold winds coming from Patagonia) that whip into the Chaco and Santa Cruz plains during the winter months, and to the warm winds from the north that dominate the Santa Cruz plain during the summer. This effect, combined with the altitude, allows the valleys south of the elbow of the Andes to have the seasonality needed for the optimum development of the vines.
During the warmest months of summer, the temperature during the day usually reaches 80º F. And during the coldest nights of the winter, the temperature can drop below 32º F. This seasonality allows the plants to rest in winter, losing all their leaves and focusing on deepening their roots, in order to awaken in spring. The warm summer sun and the breeze of Samaipata’s slopes ripen the delicious grapes of that make our high altitude wines.